What Do We Do?
"To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent on all men, but particularly on Freemasons, who are linked together by an indissoluble chain of sincere affection. To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, and to restore peace to their troubled minds, is the great aim we have in view."
Illustrations of Masonry, p. 72, William Preston, 1772.
Masons live their Obligation, the solemn promise we make before a Lodge of Master Masons when we are raised to the degree of Master Mason. That promise is what makes us Masons. We are not Masons because we know certain words, or signs, or grips, or symbols, or rituals. We are Masons because in the presence of our Brothers we commit ourselves to pursuing moral and character excellence for the remainder of our lives, living masonic principles every day, doing good to all men everywhere, under the ever watchful eye of the God in whom we profess belief.
In practical terms, that means we uphold masonic principles by supporting Masonry as an organized fraternity and, more importantly, by how we live each day in integrity and character. We support each other with friendship, shared experience, advice, and occasionally with our material substance within the bounds of prudence, freely and without requirement. And, individually and collectively as local Lodges and state Grand Lodges, we provide financial donations and our personal time in support of various charitable organizations.
One of the more prominently known masonic charities are the Shriners Hospitals for Children, which has 21 North American locations, the mission of which is to "provide the highest quality care to children with neuromusculoskeletal conditions, burn injuries and other special healthcare needs within a compassionate, family-centered and collaborative care environment, regardless of the patients' ability to pay."
Another well-known and widely respected masonic charity is the Masonic Medical Research Institute, the mission of which is "to conduct high quality basic biomedical and clinical research aimed at generating knowledge and information necessary for understanding molecular mechanisms of disease and development of medical cures and treatments of tomorrow. The Institute is also committed to providing education and training to basic scientists, clinical researchers and students who will perpetuate and extend the fight against disease worldwide."
Yet another highly respected masonic charity is the Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation, which conducts pioneering medical research into Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), heart failure, juvenile diabetes, Peripheral Arterial Disease, and stroke.
Here in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Masonic Foundation supports Three Pillars Senior Living Communities, in Dousman, the vision of which is to "be the Senior Living Community of choice in Wisconsin, grounded in all we do on Masonic Principles, for residents and other customers who will live lives of fully achieved personal satisfaction, and whose support is uniquely crafted to maintain the highest level of vibrant health and independence." Operating for over 100 years, in 2018 it was recognized by US News as one of the top 15 Senior resident facilities in the United States, and in 2019 Leading Age recognized it as the best Senior resident facility in which to work.
Locally, Jefferson County Lodge #9 has supported many organizations providing charitable and educational services to Jefferson and surrounding communities, including
Jefferson Food Pantry
Jefferson County Veterans Services Office
Watertown Veterans, Inc.
Watertown Unified School District
Knights Templar Eye Foundation
Children's Dyslexia Centers, Inc. (A Scottish Rite Charity)
People Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse
Jefferson County Christmas Neighbors
Salvation Army Bell Ringers Program
Additionally, the Lodge has funded over $80,000 in scholarships at five Jefferson County high schools since 1999, which scholarship is now known as the Foundation Stone Scholarship. And, the Lodge has placed an AED (automated external defibrillator) in every high school in Jefferson County.
If you believe yourself to be a good man and you are interested in exploring Masonry, we invite you to join us. Bring your heart, your mind, your energy, and your voice to a truly remarkable fraternity dedicated to personal excellence and service to all mankind.
More than men. Masons matter.